Politics Archive

Fabric Notable Stories, July 5, 2016: Best of 2016 TV and Web, Time and Facebook Stir It Up, Snapchat Gets Old

Curated by David Bloom

Digital Media, SVOD, Live Streaming, Snapchat

8 Biggest Digital Entertainment Stories of 2016 (So Far)

By Saba Hamedy


Live streaming, Music.ly, Snapchat copycats, SVOD overload, mobile programming, influencers on streaming sites and more.

Digital Media, Live Streaming, Publishing

Time Inc. Plans Significant Reorganization to Generate Non-Print Revenue

By Jeffrey Trachtenberg


Time Inc. plans a reorganization to generate more revenue from videos, live events and deeper collaborations with advertisers and to broaden distribution of its content including on social media platforms, people familiar with the situation say. The restructuring, which is expected shortly, comes as the magazine publisher is forecasting a revenue gain of 1% to 5% in 2016, which would be its first significant revenue improvement in five years. Time Inc. like many traditional publishers has been hit by a drop-off in print advertising revenue.

Digital Media, Publishing, Live Streaming

As Publisher Reach on Facebook Goes Down, Video Is Going Way Up

By Marty Swant


According to data compiled by SocialFlow, a social analytics company used by many major publishers, video content posted by publishers on Facebook is gaining quite a bit of traction. The company—which posts more than half a millions stories a month to Facebook and other social media channels on behalf of publishers—analyzed 30 days of video content to determine the total reach, likes and shares. And while a report last month highlighted a 42 percent drop in reach for publishers from January to May, SocialFlow found reach had grown by a factor of eight in the past month.

Anderson said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if video posts grow to account for 5 percent to 10 percent of total post volume over the next six to 12 months.

Digital Media, Publishing, Strategy


By Om Malik for The New Yorker


The new changes to the feed suggest that Facebook is going back to its beginnings. The algorithm will now favor the personal—baby photos, vacation chronicles, and marriage albums. “We often make improvements to News Feed, and when we do, we rely on a set of core values,” Adam Mosseri, the vice-president of product management for the news feed, noted on the company blog. Those values include “Friends and Family Come First” and “A Platform for All Ideas,” and can be best summed up, minus the corporate mumbo-jumbo, as Facebook wanting to make the news feed more social. It wants it to be less of a jumble of videos, ads, and news articles. The decision to revert to the core values is a reaction to a recent decline in original sharing, a trend that has caused a lot of consternation among the Facebook brain trust. Instead of posting updates about their personal lives, users are populating the feed with links to articles from across the Web. As the “friend” circles expand, the feed becomes less intimate and leads to what Facebook insiders, according to Bloomberg, call “context collapse.”

Facebook, Publishing, Strategy

Wolff: Facebook and the media’s interests diverge

By Michael Wolff


Somehow, quite like the media’s ability to ignore the electoral anger that caused Trump and Brexit, it was also able to blindly ignore that Facebook’s interests were different from its own.

And when Facebook announced last week that it was going to downgrade news in the Facebook news feed in favor of personal ruminations and friend baby pics, there was, in Trump and Brexit fashion, a total “it can’t be” reaction from the media. Actually, it’s quite a development for the media not unlike Brexit for Britain.

Rather, the media ought to Brexit Facebook. Since Facebook is going to turn its back on publishers, publishers ought to radically and unilaterally reject Facebook. Let Facebook go dark. Take back control, in the words of the Brexiteers. And don’t ever give it up again.

Digital Media, Branded Content, Live Streaming, Social Media

Martha Stewart Wants a Steady Revenue Stream From Facebook Live

By jeffrey Trachtenberg


As Facebook Live viewers have noticed, advertising isn’t allowed on the streaming service, at least not yet. However, creators are free to integrate product placements into their videos, and Martha Stewart has done some of that. So far, brands seem to be testing the water, with a Facebook Live mention as a small part of a bigger advertising deal.

While that may pale in comparison to the size of the audience she used to have for her television program, Ms. Stewart is certain that live videos are helping some people discover her for the first time, in part because she says she’s attracting an international audience. But even more important, the live episode was shot by one camera operator with an iPhone Six Plus for a fraction of the budget for her former weekday TV show.

Digital Media, Mobile

Teens’ Ownership of Smartphones Has Surged

Penetration will approach 75% this year

By eMarketer


Thus, for this whole age bracket, smartphone penetration will be 74.2%. That is up sharply from 2013, when just under half of this age cohort had smartphones. Still, it falls short of the figure for adult millennials, among whom upwards of nine in 10 have smartphones.

Digital Media, Blockchain

Chaining culture

Will blockchain technologies kill off fair use?

By Peter Brantley


Creative Commons has a real world interest in blockchain. They are potentially a means of conveying license information, identifying media just as accurately as a digital fingerprint or an identifying object hash. Being able to verify that a particular image is CC-BY, and that its creator was Robert Capa, is suggestive of a future where attribution, and credit for authorial work generally, can become automated and distributed. This has particularly excited the music and photography industries, but it has broader reach. Every commercial photographer alive would rapidly adopt a technology that ensures rights tracking and assured payments as their work moves across the internet; “track and trace” technology is a glimmer in the searching eyes of IFRRO, the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations.

Radical transparency — the ability to create an unbreakable chain of provenance — threatens Fair Use, a fundamental aspect of copyright that enables people to use copyrighted content without asking permission. When every use of an image, film, or text can be tracked, recorded, and verified, we fall into a world where we’ve commercialized ever more of our culture, and reduced the window of openness for everyone. By careless default, we may end up creating a massive, global, collective licensing framework whose controls are in the hands of technology firms and frameworks, over which we’ve lost the democratic control that the technology proclaims itself capable of delivering.

Digital Media, Investment, Strategy

Why Raising Too Much Money Can Harm Your Startup

By Mark Suster


…there are markets where it’s relatively easier to raise capital and therefore you should take a little bit more but you should create a budget where you only spend 70% of what you raise on a pace of 18 months.

But the bigger point I want to make is what happens when the coffers are depleted and you need more money? That is where over-raising can be corrosive. What felt great when you raised it $5 million on $20 million now feels like a noose around your neck because raising at an up-round of $8–10 million at a $40–50 million pre-money valuation is stratospherically harder than raising at a $20 million valuation.

Digital Media, Investment, Strategy

Anatomy of a unicorn: Why tech startups are staying private

Podcast by McKinsey and transcript


A bit under a third of the companies are China based, but you look at the type of companies you have there and it’s actually quite a bit different from what you would see in the US. The US tech sector tends to be a lot more, if you like, “real” tech.

Whereas what you have in the China tech sector is a lot more intimate, and a lot more, if you like, sort of reseller business models. So, companies that are providing intermediation through a service. Things like social media—e-commerce is obviously a very big issue. E-commerce in China is absolutely huge. It’s a massive market, and much, much better developed than most other countries right now, including the US.

Now that there is a substantial amount of capital aimed at the late-stage sector, that allows them to stay private for longer. In the venture-capital sector itself, you’ve got unprecedented levels of fundraising. A few hundred billion of uninvested funds sitting there, and it has to be deployed. Now, venture capital is fundamentally a bit of a cottage industry. It doesn’t scale very well. It’s all based on a small group of people searching for opportunities in a defined area, industry or geographic.

That’s put more pressure to get money into investments. But I think what’s really changed the game has been the entry of a lot of money from outside the traditional venture-capital industry. So, buyout funds looking to get into late-stage limited partners, pension funds and so forth who want to do pre-IPO investments into some of these more prestigious companies like Facebook.

Digital Media, VidCon, After The Love Has Gone

VidCon 2016: Innocence Lost?

By Peter Csathy


And yes, VidCon continues to rank amongst the most important industry events. For those of you who have never attended, it still is a “must” (for reasons I laid out in great detail in my review of my first VidCon two years ago). But, for others like me who have attended previously (especially those who have attended multiple times), it has become more like CES. An event worthy of consideration for sure (because many digital media leaders and influencers will be there and it is easy to schedule back-to-back meetings). VidCon, however, is no longer an absolute necessity for your agenda. And I wasn’t alone in that assessment.  Several industry insiders whom I respect felt the same and actually left early.

The primary reason? The original VidCon “magic” was gone. VidCon version 1.0 (which still persisted two years ago) was all about serendipity and immersion into the brave new world of digital-first video content (what many then called the “YouTube Economy”).

Digital Media, Entertainment, Sports

Visionary Peter Guber’s Sports And Entertainment World

By Mike Ozanian


Got lucky to have Peter Guber on our TV show, Forbes SportsMoney, the other day. The celebrated movie producer, who is an owner in the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Dodgers and LAFC talked passionately about the lens through which he views sports and entertainment, what an increasingly social market means for owners, and the impact Esports and virtual reality will have on the industry.

Traditional Media

Best TV Networks of 2016 (So Far)

By Joe Adalian


The biggest trend in the TV industry so far in 2016 has, sadly, been the same as the one which shaped 2015: Viewership, for both broadcast and cable networks, continues to decline. This doesn’t mean it’s all death and despair in TV land, however. Live tune-in for TV shows is headed south, but when various on-demand platforms are included, Americans are actually consuming much more media content overall, including TV. And even as the business in general struggles to adapt to new user behaviors, individual networks are still managing to shine. In no particular order, here are five doing particularly well this year, as judged by ratings, buzz, or a combination thereof.

DB: Big Joe has forgotten more about TV than entire networks will ever know. Good breakdown on who had a good first-half run on the dial.

Social Media, Demographics Marches On

Snapchat’s Teen Fans Wince as App Catches On With Their Folks

By Yoree Koh


A recent comScore report declared that Snapchat is “breaking into the mainstream,” estimating that 38% of U.S. smartphone users ages 25 to 34 are on Snapchat, and 14% of those 35 or older. Three years ago, those numbers were 5% and 2%, respectively.

DB: Old dudes on the Snapchat. Oh, snap!

Technology, Business Climate

‘Tech tax’ proposed in San Francisco amid growing tensions over startup boom

By Marissa Kendall


A handful of San Francisco supervisors want tech companies in the city — and only tech companies — to pay extra taxes, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The money would go toward addressing the city’s homelessness problem and the high cost of housing.

The measure, backed by three city supervisors and announced last week by Supervisor Eric Mar, would take a 1.5 percent payroll tax from tech companies’ pockets.

Technology, Business Climate, International, Advertising

The impact of Brexit is looking ‘dismal’ for the UK media sector

By Lara O’Reilly


“Brexit is upon us,” the report says, using the abbreviation for the British exit from the EU. “It promises no benefits to the UK creative sector, only offering the prospect of damage. The question is how much.”

Enders says the period of uncertainty could last as long as five years.

And when there is a period of uncertainty, advertisers tend to hold back their spend. Advertising spend is also influenced by the economy, which is expected to experience an accelerated slowdown as a result of the Brexit.

As a result, Enders has downgraded its short-term forecasts for the UK media sector.

SVOD, Distribution

SeaChange Pumps New Release of ‘Adrenalin’ Multiscreen Platform

By Jeff Baumgartner


Following on hints dropped earlier this month, SeaChange International has issued a new release of its multiscreen video “Adrenalin” backoffice platform that adds support for 4K/Ultra HD content, binge-watching models, and a “geographic failover” element.

Digital Video, Branded Content, Traditional Media


By Cate Lecuyer


Through the partnership, the videos will have access to a reach of more than 140 million unique visitors and nearly 50 million social followers from the NBCUniversal specific pages, according to the network. NBCU Content Studio will also create memes and GIFs for Sabra’s social pages, and content distribution will incorporate use of data-targeting to to reach Sabra Veggie Fusion key audiences.

Mobile, Digital Media, Publishing

Hyper, the Mic-owned app for curated videos, comes to iPhones

By Anthony Ha


Like Hyper on the iPad, the new app offers each user a daily playlist of 10 videos. According to Gilles, there are now 30 or so videos selected every day, with each user seeing a subset of 10 based on their own interests, and based on the publishers and creators they’ve subscribed to within the app. (If you’ve subscribed to a creator, you also get a notification whenever one of their videos is added to the app.)

In order to enable these offline capabilities, Hyper has also partnered with a number of publishers, including Condé Nast Entertainment (publisher of Vogue,The New Yorker, Wired and others), Refinery29, Mashable, Fusion and Elite Daily. And there will be videos from the Mic team as well.

Mobile, Digital Media, Publishing

Facebook to Shut Down ‘Paper’ News Creation and Curation App

By Juli Clover


Paper, a Flipboard competitor, consisted of a news reader that pulled content from a user’s Facebook News Feed and a variety of well-known online publications, organizing it all into a magazine-style layout with sections ranging from technology to animals. A team of editors curated the most popular online content for users and for a time, it was a popular replacement for the traditional Facebook News Feed.

Distribution, Pay TV

Sling TV adds a slew of new channels including BBC, NBC, Bravo, USA and Syfy

Sling is adding several new networks to its streaming-video roster, but restrictions remain for households that want to watch many channels at once.

By Jacob Krol


Among the new channels are popular, previously unavailable networks from the NBC and BBC family, including USA, Bravo, BBC America, Syfy and some regional Comcast Sportsnet channels. But Sling is keeping its channel offerings in two separate color-coded tiers: Sling Orange and Sling Blue.

Sling Orange, the base service, will still cost $20 per month and offer only “single-stream” service (the ability to watch one channel at any given time), for a total of 28 channels from the Disney/ESPN family. Sling Blue costs $25 for 43 networks — including those from Fox and NBC — and offers up to three simultaneous streams on different devices.

Traditional Media, Social Media, Big Data

Linear TV Tunes In To Social Media Data To Plan Campaigns

By Sarah Sluis


4C scanned social media profiles to find the viewers most likely to be interested in the upcoming movie. It looked for behavior that indicated an affinity for the genre, actors or similar movies, going on to match those users to respondent-level viewing data from Nielsen, which allowed them to extrapolate the viewing history of the group.

Turner took the segment and used its Targeting Now solution to create an optimized schedule it estimated would provide the most reach against that audience segment.

Targeting Now is designed to ingest virtually any data source, including a marketer’s first party data, and uses predictive technology to figure out who is likely to view a show or sports event.

Conferences of note

Wonder Women of Tech, July 15 and 16



Fabric Notable Stories, June 29, 2016: Twitch Tips, HRC Tech, CEO Gone Rogue

Curated by David Bloom

Many bits of news coming out of big social-media platforms these days, as they jockey to offer new ways to monetize and connect, especially through video. Twitch, the king of tipping, creates a virtual currency, while Live.ly,  the live-streaming spinoff from smash-hit karaoke app Musical.Ly, sings something of the same tune.

Today’s list also includes some engrossing long reads, such as the one by Antonio Garcia Martinez about his dance between potential acquirers Facebook and Twitter, and what he did to his co-founders. -DB

OTT, Streaming Video

4 signs of the splintering OTT video economy

By Colin Dixon


We are entering a new phase in the evolution of OTT video. The market is splintering on many levels, and it threatens to slow or even derail the explosive growth we have seen in recent years.

Here are 4 signs that the OTT video economy is splintering into many different proprietary pools of influence.

Social Media, Streaming Video

Instagram Looking to Boost Video Consumption with New ‘Picked for You’ Channels

By Andrew Hutchinson


“The total time people spent watching video on Instagram increased 150 percent over the past six months. As video continues to grow, we’re adding new channels to Explore to make it easier for you to discover videos you’ll enjoy.”  

That 150% increase stat kind of came out of nowhere – earlier this week in an interview with Bloomberg, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom noted the figure as part of the discussion. Yet three months ago in March, when Instagram announced the expansion of on platform video length from 15 to 60 seconds, they quoted this stat:

There are some obvious channel topics in there, for sure (Comedians, Singers) but the narrow focus of many of these areas (Special Effects Makeup, Pitbulls) highlight niche interests where, obviously, Instagram is seeing significant community activity – significant enough to build entire channels around them.

Social Media, Monetization

Twitch Unveils New Tipping Functionality Called ‘Cheering’ With Animated Jewel Emotes

By Geoff Weiss


Twitch has introduced a new chat functionality called ‘Cheering‘, whereby viewers can tip streamers with animated, jewel-shaped Emotes — which is the gaming platform’s parlance for emojis — called ‘Bits‘. The new feature is designed to celebrate the fact that “the moments we share on Twitch, and the streamers who create them, are the glue that binds us together,” writes programming manager Robin Fontaine in a company blog post.

Having launched yesterday in beta, Bits can be bestowed with five different Emotes. 100 Bits cost $1.40. Users can tip in increments of 1 Bit, which appears as a small, gray pyramid; 100 Bits, which appear as two dancing purple diamonds; 1,000 Bits cost $14 and appears as a large teal gem; 5,000 Bits are priced at $70, and appear as a rotating royal blue jewel; and 10,000 Bits cost a whopping $140, and manifest in chat as a six-sided red star.

Live Streaming, Apps

Musical.ly May Be the Spoiler in Livestream Race with Launch of Live.ly

By Andrew Wallenstein


Musical.ly, a Shanghai-based social network that has astonished the industry by amassing a global audience approaching 100 million mostly teenage users in less than one year, is spinning off a second app, Live.ly, that will also focus on livestreaming. After a soft launch in May, Live.ly went live in the iTunes app store Friday, and began trending instantly despite zero promotion because of the word of mouth from Musical.ly’s rabid user base.

Both apps will be integrated with each other; once Musical.ly starts to formally introduce Live.ly to its users, a livestreaming category that has plenty of big entrants but no clear winner yet will get a new player capable of scaling as quickly and massively as the others.

Branded Content, VR, Marketing

Is Branded Virtual Reality Content the Next Frontier in Marketing?

In Cannes, media companies like Gannett, AOL pitch marketers on their ability to help create and distribute sponsored VR content

By Jack Marshall


Publishers and media companies also were joining in, pitching marketers on the idea of branded virtual reality content, which they hope to produce and distribute on behalf of paying brands in the latest frontier for marketing.

Salespeople and VR experts from Gannett’s USA Today Network, for example, spent time this week demonstrating a sizzle reel for its upcoming weekly VR show called “VRtually There,” as well as branded VR content it’s already produced for companies such as Honda.

It also demonstrated a new VR ad unit it created, which it’s calling a “cubemercial,” that effectively places the viewer inside a virtual-reality room. Brands will be given the opportunity to showcase videos or products on each of the cube’s six sides, said Gannett’s chief revenue officer, Kevin Gentzel.

Ad Blockers, Digital Media, Advertising

Scaremongering in digital: Why ad blocking isn’t as dire as you think

By Rob Rasko


What I discovered is that while ad blocking is a big concern that publishers need to take seriously, it may not be as big a business problem as some predict it to be. Here’s why.

To develop a realistic projection of how big the ad-blocking problem is, we cut up the revenue and projections into three categories — search, display and digital video — and in our opinion, the only ad formats that are truly at risk for being susceptible to ad blockers are traditional display banners and rich media units.

Social Media, Algorithms

Facebook’s News Feed: Why you see what you see

By Kurt Wagner


Why we see what we see in News Feed, though, has always been a bit of a mystery. We know News Feed is powered by a computer algorithm, a set of signals created by Facebook to show you, the user, a personalized list of items the company thinks you’ll like. But what all of those signals are and how much one signal is weighted versus another has never been entirely clear.

Facebook is trying to fix that, at least in one small way. On Wednesday it published its “News Feed Values” for the first time, a set of guidelines it claims to adhere to whenever it tweaks or changes the almighty algorithm.

The timing of this is not random.

For starters, Facebook tweaked its algorithm Wednesday in a way that will hurt news publishers that rely on News Feed for distributing their content. The list of values are Facebook’s attempt to explain to those publishers why this is happening.

Social Media, Apps, Advertising

Snapchat is slashing its ad prices for brands, sources say

By Garrett Sloane


Snapchat’s ads API — application programming interface — could cost advertisers $100,000 at minimum, which is significantly lower than Instagram’s minimum of $500,000 when it first opened the platform to ads, according to sources familiar with Snapchat.

Snapchat started selling ads in late 2014, and early products — one that went to every user and disappeared within 24 hours — cost about $750,000. In 2015, Snapchat brought down the price for video ads to 2 cents a view, or $20 for 1,000 views. This year, prices were back up with premium animated lenses that could cost millions depending on how many an advertiser bought in a given day, and interactive ads, where users can swipe up for more content, cost about $55 for 1,000 views.

Social Media, Publishing

The Huffington Post hacks a Snapchat button to drive followers from its website

By Garrett Sloane


The Huffington Post had to build its own for Snapchat because the app is almost intentionally difficult to follow. “Snapchat is not the easiest platform to surface content on,” said Kiki Von Glinow, director of growth at Huffington Post. “We have to tell the user coming to us on desktop that they can experience HuffPo in a completely different way on Snapchat.”

Since adding the button, HuffPo has seen a 140 percent increase in daily average signups, Von Glinow said. The publisher would not say how many followers it gains daily or how many it has in total.

Social Media, Small Business

Introducing Twitter Dashboard

By Noah Pepper of Twitter


Today we’re offering a free tool to give all businesses an advantage in the way they use Twitter. With an iOS app and desktop web experience, Dashboard offers a single destination to get things done. It gives business owners a clear picture of what’s being said about their businesses, lets them schedule Tweets, and offers insights about their Tweet performance.

SVOD, Traditional Media, Pay TV, Set-Top Boxes

Advice to Big Ops: Add Streamers to the Box

Set-top apps could help SVOD tap into older demo, says analyst

By Mike Farrell


Integrating apps from subscription video-on-demand services into cable set-top boxes could go a long way toward tapping into an underserved demographic for subscription video-on-demand — older viewers — while providing pay TV with another retention tool, according to some analysts.

That could be a key demographic for Netflix in particular. After a strong first quarter of domestic subscriber growth — it added 2.2 million customers in the period — Netflix said subscriber increases would slow in the second quarter to about 500,000. Netflix could make up the difference by targeting older pay TV customers, Swinburne said.

Traditional Media, Streaming Video, Social Media

Adult Swim Posts A Full Episode Of Brad Neely’s New Show On Vine

By Sam Gutelle


In order to promote Neely’s incredibly-titled work, Adult Swim went to Vine, where it took advantage of the Twitter-owned platform’s recent expansion past its signature six-second format by posting the entire first episode of Harg Nallin Sclopio Peepio.

Viewers who head over to Adult Swim’s Vine page will find a short clip from Harg Nallin. Should they click a “Watch More” button in the loop’s bottom-right corner, they will load up a wider video player that shows the animated sketch show’s full 10-minute premiere.

Social Media, Streaming Video

Vine Premieres Its First Long-Form Original Series, ‘Camp Unplug’, Starring Lauren Giraldo, Cody Ko

By Geoff Weiss


Micro video platform Vine — which recently announced changes that will allow certain creators to post longer videos, thus opening the door to monetization opportunities — has quietly released its first long-form original series. Told in a series of 36 Vines ranging in length from 6 seconds to more than 2 minutes, the show is called Camp Unplug and is about a group of 13 Vine stars who grudgingly attend a digital detox summer camp.

Streaming Video, Social Media

Samantha Bee’s Facebook Experiment: AT&T Works to Stream ‘Full Frontal’ Preview

By Brian Steinberg


As part of a sponsorship deal with AT&T, Bee will offer users of the social-media outlet a look behind the scenes of her edgy comedy show as it gears up for a taping this evening in front of an audience. Facebook users will be able to see Allana Harkin, a member of the show’s staff, warm up the audience, and then catch Bee as she greets the audience and even takes questions from both the crowd in front of her as well as Facebook users. The hostess is expected to acknowledge AT&T as the sponsor of the new access granted to fans in her own words as part of the agreement.

AT&T is just one of several advertisers trying to make new connections with TV’s late-night audience. Last week,  McDonald’s and Coca-Cola arranged a joint deal that put products from both companies into the popular “Carpool Karaoke” segment on James Corden’s “Late Late Show” on CBS. NBCUniversal recently enlisted Seth Meyers to do a live ad for Chrysler’s Pacifica. Apple in October used a performance by Ryan Adams on Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” to run an ad at the bottom of the screen during the program for its streaming Apple Music service. These deals are just two of many that have begun to crop up across late-night programming, as Madison Avenue craves a more obvious presence while Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and the rest deliver riffs on the headlines and interview celebrities.

Politics, Policy, Technology

Hillary Clinton’s tech agenda is really a huge economic plan in disguise

By Brian Fung


The agenda released Tuesday reads like a Silicon Valley wish list. It calls for investing in computer science and engineering education, expansion of technologies like 5G mobile data and hooking up more public places such as airports and train stations with cheap, abundant WiFi. It would continue efforts to curb abusive patent lawsuits, which the tech industry says are stifling its ability to innovate. And it commits to defending the government’s net neutrality rules, which were recently upheld by a federal appeals court and aim to ban Internet providers from unfairly manipulating Internet content.

The proposal from the presumptive Democratic nominee also promises to give recent college grads a three-year reprieve from their student loan payments, as long as they spend that time creating new startups and small businesses. And it includes an extra incentive that allows young entrepreneurs to wipe out up to $17,500 in student debt if they launch their businesses in “distressed communities.”

Digital Media, Funding

Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital Closes $10 Million Funding Round Led By Third Wave Digital

By Geoff Weiss


All Def Digital (ADD) said today that it has closed a $10 million funding round led by venture capital firm Third Wave Digital. Other participants in the round included WPP Ventures (the investment arm of British advertising goliath WPP) and Andreessen Horowitz, as well as existing investors Nu Horizons, Greycroft Partners, eVentures, and Advancit Capital. This brings total funds raised by the Russell Simmons co-founded digital media company to $15 million.

ADD, which says it aims to capture urban-centric youth culture, boasts 100 million fans across YouTube and Facebook. It also recently launched a branded content studio called ADHD, which has partnered with consumer electronics brands, car and beverage makers, and movie studios.

New funds will be used to scale cross-platform growth, and will be allocated toward original programming in comedy, music, sports, news, and poetry, ADD said. It will also help to accelerate branded and sponsored content initiatives.

M&A, Traditional Media, Litigation

Jeffrey Katzenberg Sued Over “Side Deal” to DreamWorks-Comcast Merger

By Ashley Cullins


Jeffrey Katzenberg is facing a proposed class-action lawsuit that claims he agreed to the $3.87 billion sale of DreamWorks Animation to Comcast because of a lucrative side deal,

DreamWorks shareholder Ann Arbor City Employees Retirement System is accusing Katzenberg of breaching his duty to minority shareholders. AACERS claims Katzenberg was offered a 7 percent share of profits from the company’s new media business in perpetuity, and if he hadn’t taken that deal Comcast would have had to pay more for the studio to secure his support.

As part of the acquisition, Katzenberg will serve as a consultant to NBCUniversal and become chairman of DreamWorks New Media, which controls the company’s interests in AwesomenessTV and NOVA.

Social Media, E-Commerce

Pinterest tries to one-up Amazon with new shopping features like AI-enabled search

By Tim Peterson


On Thursday — almost a year to the day since Pinterest rolled out buyable pins in the US, which it’s now bringing to the web — the company is adding a host of new e-commerce features. Some are standard. There’s nothing new to a cross-platform shopping cart and merchant profiles. But others attempt to make searching for products by typing in text and scrolling through results seem outdated.

People can now put items from different merchants in a shopping bag that they can access and check out from any device. And Pinterest is adding merchant profiles so that people can see what specific sellers have on offer, including what’s popular and what’s on sale. Again, standard.

Live Streaming, Digital Media


By Tal Shachar & Matthew Ball


These two changes have fundamentally transformed media consumption and in the process, disoriented the network business and left Hollywood confused about the value of television content and the future of the industry.  After all, live communal “appointment” viewing has always been considered the “core” product of the TV offering. On-demand is simply an add-on, as TV Everywhere access demonstrates (Time Warner Cable customers still can’t watch any of Disney’s non-ESPN channels or Time Warner’s non-HBO cable networks over-the-top). Moreover, weekly releases have long been viewed as critical to the consumer experience (by way of reviews, tweets and water cooler chitchat). And as Empire’s first season showed, the momentum that can accrue from weekly releases can be essential to audience growth. Networks also rely on distributed series viewing to drive the rest of their programming portfolio via lead-in/lead-out programming. And of course, 50% of network revenues come from selling live audiences to advertisers. This has made a pivot tough.

M&A, Social Media, Shameless Self-Accounting

How I Sold My Company to Twitter, Went to Facebook, and Screwed My Co-Founders

By Antonio Garcia Martinez


In this excerpt adapted from his new, take-no-prisoners Silicon Valley memoir Chaos Monkeys, Antonio García Martínez explains the harrowing exit of his one-year-old Y Combinator startup company. As we begin our narrative, García Martínez is CEO and unofficial strategist of AdGrok, which is in the midst of the “trough of despair” following launch and preceding significant revenues. His two co-founders, Matthew McEachen (MRM) and Argyris Zymnis, aka“the boys,” provide the engineering. (They are the book’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.)

Publishing, Monetization, Digital Media

Newsonomics: The Financial Times’ CEO on trial subscriptions, the platform age, and living in luxury

By Ken Doctor


The company now can rightly claim to be more digital than print. I’ve often pointed to the FT as an exemplar of how high-quality journalism is making the transition into the new age, but I’ve been equally impressed by how hard the journey is, even for the exemplar.

Advertising, Ad Tracking

Uh Oh: Google Expands Its Ad Tracking. But, Yay: It’s Opt-In

By Brian Barrett


The prompt includes an option to let Google use all of the information associated with your account—search, Chrome, YouTube, the works—to inform the ads you see across the web. Google already does this within its own services, but until now it has used cookies for anything beyond that.

This new setting would change that.

Opting in gives you more granular control over how ads work across devices signed into your Google account. If a search for boat shoes (you know, the grey ones with white laces) haunts you across the web, you’ll be able to kill it everywhere, all at once, rather than going device by device.

Live Streaming, Music, Crazy Icelandic Bands

Sigur Rós is livestreaming a 24-hour drive through Iceland with a soundtrack generated in real-time

By Abhimanu Ghoshal


On ‘Route One’, the group is driving through Iceland for 24 hours and livestreaming the journey. The accompanying soundtrack is a single continuous piece created using Bronze, which is described as ‘generative music software’. The app will take cues from Sigur Rós’ latest track ‘Óveður.’

Design, Infographics

Design, Illustrated in 3 Charts

Been typing a lot of words recently, so this one will be simple: a few doodles from the sketchbook pondering what, exactly, is design.

By Julie Zhuo


Essentials of Design Venn Diagram

The Bernie Sanders campaign is making an impact with TV advertisements

By Max Willens International Business Times

Bernie Sanders is far from the slickest presidential candidate, but he is clearly the most effective television advertiser in the 2016 race. Sanders’ campaign is responsible for the three most effective presidential campaign ads that have aired this year, and six of the 10 most effective, research conducted by the advertising measurement firm Ace Metrix indicates.


Advertising Age: Here’s the Truth in Advertising Act of 2016

Advertising Age — Ad Age has partnered with Voxgov, a one-stop source of unedited communications from all branches of the U.S. federal government, to serve up regulatory and political information of interest to the marketing and media communities. In today’s edition, a look at potential legislation regarding the alteration of images used in advertising. On Feb. 3, Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., Lois Capps, D-Calif. and Ted Deutch, D-Fla., introduced H.R. 4445, the Truth in Advertising Act.

Advertising Age: Congressman: Let’s Stop Forcing Christmas Tree Growers to Advertise

voxgov — In today’s edition, Rep. Michael McCaul (R.-TX) has introduced the Christmas Tree Tax Exclusion Act, which would allow certain Christmas tree producers to opt out of the Christmas Tree Promotion and Research Program, a USDA initiative that compels growers to support industry advertising whether they want to or not.

Politico: BuzzFeed launches native video political advertising

Hadas Gold @ Politico — BuzzFeed will begin creating native video ads for politicians and political causes, the website will announce Monday.

Rena Shapiro, most recently advertising director for Pandora, has been named vice president, Politics & Advocacy for BuzzFeed.

Shapiro will oversee native political ads, created in conjunction with BuzzFeed’s product and branded video teams from BuzzFeed Motion Pictures.

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Boston Herald: Rosenberg: Online fantasy sports should be regulated, taxed

Matt Stout Boston Herald — Senate President Stanley Rosenberg said the exploding fantasy sports market needs to be regulated and taxed in Massachusetts, offering the clearest call yet for change as Beacon Hill grapples with how to address the billion-dollar industry.